A 75-year-old man living in South Florida has been accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl who shared the same residence.
Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers believe there could be several elements at play here. Given the man’s age, we could be talking about dementia. We could be talking about a mental infirmity or illness. Given the man’s native origins, we could be talking about a different religious belief system.
This is all speculation, of course, but what this case illustrates so well is a point we regularly try to drive home, and that is this: No defendant – especially one accused of such a serious crime – should offer a statement to criminal investigators without a defense lawyer present.
Even if you are innocent, you must understand that law enforcement investigators are trained interrogators. They know how to manipulate a conversation. They know how to twist your words around. They are skilled in tripping you up. This is why we so often hear about false confessions. Interrogations go on for hours and hours and such intense pressure is applied that before long, an innocent person begins to doubt the truth.
But let’s assume for the sake of argument that you did commit the crime they are alleging, or some lesser degree of it. No matter how clever you are, you will always benefit from consulting with an experienced lawyer because it is our job to formulate defense strategies. Especially here at this law firm, where we are former prosecutors, we are intimately familiar with how these interrogations work. We know the strategies law enforcement officials use, and we don’t allow you to fall prey to them.
When you speak to law enforcement without your lawyer there, you may potentially be significantly limiting your defense strategy options. Even revealing knowledge of seemingly minor details could end up posing a host of challenges for your case.
In this case, the girl reportedly went to her school principal and told him that the defendant had returned to the home after an extended stay in another country, and that she was afraid to return home.
She later told investigators that the defendant would molest her in the bathroom, after everyone else was asleep. In one case, her brother reportedly witnessed such actions.
However, the defendant claimed the children were lying and it was probably a “zombie.”
Even if the children aren’t being truthful, a zombie defense is unlikely to go far with a judge or jury.
He was booked on five counts of sexual assault and lewd behavior, and was being held on $5,000 bond.
If you are arrested, in addition to withholding a statement to investigators and immediately requesting a lawyer, here are some other things to keep in mind:
–Don’t argue with an officer. The investigator may want you to become emotional in order to get you talking.
–Be respectful and polite. Even if you are innocent, being combative will get you nowhere.
–Remember that every single thing you say can be used against you. Stay silent. That is your right. Avail yourself of it.
–Know that you do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle, your home or yourself. That doesn’t mean you can necessarily stop it, particularly if police have a warrant. However, consenting to a search will limit your rights in court with regard to whatever is later found.
–Speak about the situation to no one but your lawyer, and maybe your spouse or close loved one – if you’re lawyer says it’s Ok to do so. Almost anyone can be called as a potential witness against you.